If you’ve been in business for a while, you know that social media is vital to your business. Social media helps you connect with potential clients, network with your peers and sell your products or services from the comfort of your couch.

But with all great things, there comes the responsibility to use it wisely. Social media can be great for business, but making mistakes on it can lead to damaging your business’ reputation.

I spend a lot of time scheduling social media content and consulting with my clients on how to build up their online presence, so I see a lot of mistakes that could easily be avoided. To really make your social media shine, you can avoid these common pitfalls:


Social Media Mistakes To Avoid - Negativity

Take Negativity Off Of Social Media

Think about the last time you went out to a networking event. You grab yourself a drink, nab an appetizer if your lucky and take a deep breath before diving into a night of chatting with your potential clients and peers.

Now, we’ve all ended up in a situation where our conversation partner just can’t seem to find the silver lining. They complain about their clients, they complain about their mechanic–they seem to have come to the event hoping to find a bit of sympathy instead of finding some new contacts.

It doesn’t take long before you find a reason to excuse yourself and get the heck out of there.

Social media is the same thing.

Social Media is networking on a global and very public scale. If you’re negative all the time, you’re going to turn people off your brand.

It’s networking but on a global and very public scale. If you are negative on a regular basis, you’re going to be turning people away from your brand.

What to do instead:

Find yourself in a negative situation in your business? Take it offline.

Someone publically tweets something negative your way? Ask them if they want to send you a DM because you’d love to chat.

Your tire blew a flat on the way to the meeting you were late for this morning? Make a joke of it and use it as something your audience can relate to.

If you can’t keep it out of the public forum, try to look for a positive angle that you can use in discussion around the situation OR take a break from social and calm down before you tweet something you will regret later on.


Social Media Mistakes To Avoid -

Don’t Be Inconsistent On Social Media Platforms

Let’s say I’m watching Big Brother. It’s on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. I make plans to unwind with a bag of popcorn and an episode after the kid heads to bed.

Because it’s on so often, so consistently—I’m invested in the storyline. I can’t wait to see the outcome. I am engaged and present.

Now say they skip the episode on Sunday and we don’t get to watch again until Wednesday. The story has moved on and suddenly I’ve completely lost the plot. I might not think of it because it just happened once, but if it happened all the time? You better believe I’m switching to Netflix.

The same thing is happening online. If you are posting once in a blue moon on an inconsistent basis, it’s unlikely that people on social media are coming to you as an ‘expert in the field.’

Instead, they’re following your competitors. The ones who are showing up consistently and providing valuable content.

They want the relationship. The engagement. The education. And if you’re not going to provide it, then they will move on to someone who will.

Posting consistently is going to help your audience understand that you are here for them, and you are committed to the relationship you have with them.

What you should do instead:

Develop a content calendar. Find a scheduling app that works for you.

Recently I was at BlogJam Atlantic and was reminded during one of the talks of the saying: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.

While that talk was about video, you could apply the same principle to all of your content online.

Plan for a schedule that works for how busy you are. Plan what days you’re going to post. Write down themes of your post to get you inspired.

Plan out your blogs, events, products and services in advance so you can create a schedule of posts to put out and then plan to have time available for scheduling that content.

Once you have that consistent posting schedule down, and there is a history of consistent posting to back you up, don’t be afraid to take time away from social media when you need it.

Make sure to add a post and pin it to the top of your feed to let your audience know how long you’ll be away.

Leaving twitter to spend more time on Instagram? Same thing, but invite your audience along to follow you there instead.

Bonus: Use an image for your vacation to make sure people see it quickly.


Social Media Mistakes To Avoid -

Avoid Spamming Your Audience On Social Media

We all have a friend who only calls when they want a drive somewhere. You don’t want to be that person on social media who only posts when they need something or they are trying to sell something.

When posting on social media you want to offer 80% educational, engaging and entertaining content and only 20% sales.

You want to provide value to your audience so that when you do want to have that ride to the airport, your audience not only pays attention, but they welcome that offering.

Examples of valuable content: Blog posts, Video posts, Insights on your life, Tips, Tricks, etc.

Examples of sales: Sales page links, testimonials, education on how to use a product, etc.

Make sure you pay attention to your mix to get that ratio right.

Think of it like your mailbox. You open it every day and hope to find a mix of personal mail, bills, fliers, and maybe a nice card. That’s akin to getting a good mix of useful info, sales pitches and value able content like blogs and the next event you’re going to .

If you don’t have that mix, it’s more like just opening your mailbox and getting only fliers. You probably won’t even look at them before tossing them in the bin.

What you should do instead:

Make a habit of interacting and building relationships online. And then interact way more than you ask for things.

You have heard the saying: ‘you have 2 ears to listen and 1 mouth to speak’? Well, that is the same when it comes to social media marketing ( use it everywhere or not at all doesn’t matter to me) and online listening.

Reminder, your content should be 80% education, informative and engaging. And then 20% sales. A good rule of thumb is to limit your sales posts to 1 out of 5. So every 5th post could have something about your services.

Need to post more sales content than that? Engagement with your followers counts toward that 80% of valuable content!


Social Media Mistakes To Avoid -

Also, Try Not To Over-Post On Social Media

The days of sharing 10 Facebook posts a day are long gone. The online space is saturated with quality content and your audience is overloaded with decisions on what to consume.

It’s time for adopting a ‘quality over quantity’ mindset and be aware of how much you should be posting online.

Because this changes all the time with the algorithm, do a quick google search to ask what the best amount of posts for each platform is.

What to do instead:

Two words: Content. Calendar.

No more random posting on a Tuesday. By strategically planning your content, you’ll provide quality and remove the stress of coming up with something to post on the fly.


Social Media Mistakes To Avoid -

Check your spelling and grammar

You wouldn’t submit a proposal full of grammar errors, so try to avoid doing it on social.

If you’re investing in the time to DIY your social media, you know that it takes a huge amount of time each week to curate posts to serve your business and your audience.

You don’t want to invest in all that work and end up giving a poor first impression by misspelling your tweets! Once in a while is a-ok but making a habit of it isn’t in the best interest of your business. (Sidenote: Twitter, when are we getting that edit button?!)

This being said, don’t forget to have fun online. If you use shorthand like ‘ya’ll’ or ‘kbai’ as a part of your brand voice, keep those little gems.

If you use shorthand like ‘ya’ll’ or ‘kbai’ as a part of your brand voice, keep those little gems.

These small and consistent grammar choices become a part of your brand and aren’t included in the kind of grammar/spelling issues that turn people off your brand.

What to do instead:

Download Grammarly. The free version will highlight any issues you’re having before you hit ‘post.’

Even better, plan those posts ahead. That’ll give you time to proofread them first.


Social Media Mistakes To Avoid -

If You’re Sliding Into Someone’s DM, Make Sure It’s Not On Autopilot.

“I really felt special when I got a canned response selling me a product after I followed an account I liked”–said no one, ever.

There was a time when everyone and their grandmother was selling auto DM’s as the next big thing in marketing, but I disagree. Period. End of Sentence.

There is nothing personal about an Auto DM and using one on Social Media—keyword: social—feels inauthentic to the extreme.

Social media is about real connections with real people, and no one is getting the warm and fuzzies when your twitter bot slides up into their DM’s.

What to do instead:

Set aside time in the evenings to review new followers and connect with them if it’s appropriate.

Think someone is a potential lead? Maybe DM them with a thank you for following, personalized with something you learned about them via their profile.

Use their name so they know it’s not an automatic response.


Common Social Media Mistakes Hashtags

Hashtag responsibly

To hashtag, or not to hashtag–that is the question.

The answer is: It depends.—I know, very helpful!

Only hashtag your content on the relevant platforms: Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin.

Posting on Facebook? Definitely do not.

What to do instead:

Research the types of hashtags that are relevant to your business based on the platform you’re using.

Use them as a way to join the conversation rather than trying to place your content into other industries.


Social Media Mistakes To Avoid

Change Up That Content Across Your Platforms

Think of a time that you logged onto facebook just to see the same content from the same person you interacted with on Instagram.

You’re probably scrolling right past that post the second time you see it.

Your most actively engaged followers are probably connected with you on every platform, and they do not want to see the same content over-and-over as they jump around their apps over a morning coffee.

By cross-posting across all platforms at the same time via manual posting or scheduling app, you’re running the risk of having them unfollow you on one or more platforms.

What to do instead:

Using online schedulers can make your life way easier, but make sure when you’re posting to the various platforms that you change up the times and tweak the content.

I personally use Buffer and yes I often use the same content for various platforms but I go in and change the times and tweak the content.

On Instagram, I’ll use hashtags and on facebook, I will properly tag users. It takes an extra couple minutes but makes a world of difference.

Remember To Have Fun

Finally, remember that social media is supposed to be fun! All of these tips can be overwhelming, especially when you’re running an online business.

I have been helping business owners create and sustain their online presence for over 5 years now, and if you can only start with one of these tips, it would be: Have fun online.

Looking for help with your social media presence? You can check out my services page here to see if there is something I can take off your plate.

Do you have a burning social media question? Email it to us and we’ll make sure to answer it in a blog post or video 🙂